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The critical imagination

Grant, James (2013) The critical imagination. Oxford Philosophical Monographs. Oxford, UK: Oxford University Press. ISBN 9780199661794.

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Abstract

Book synopsis: This book is about metaphor, imaginativeness, and criticism of the arts. Since the early eighteenth century, many writers, among them Hume, Kant, Oscar Wilde, and Roger Scruton, have argued that engaging intelligently with artworks involves responding imaginatively to them. A sensitivity to architecture might involve seeing a row of columns as stately, serene, and meditative. Appreciating music might involve hearing it as shimmering, fluid, or silky. Many literary works lend themselves to highly imaginative interpretations. And critics often use imaginative metaphors to describe the appearance of a work and its effects on a sensitive audience. Facts like these lead many to claim that imaginativeness plays a major role not only in creating art, but also in criticizing it. This book critically examines this attractive idea. The first half considers what the role of imaginativeness in criticism is. It provides new accounts of what the aims of criticism are, what art appreciation is, and what imaginativeness is. These accounts are used to defend a view about what makes someone a good critic, and what the role of imaginativeness in criticism is. The second part examines the role of metaphor in criticism. It begins by defending a claim about what metaphors communicate and how we understand them. This view supports the traditional, but currently unpopular, idea that all metaphors are based on similarity. There follows an attack on the widely-held view that we need metaphor to communicate, express, think, or discover certain things. The final chapter uses these conclusions to explain why metaphor is so effective, and therefore so prevalent, in criticism.

Item Type: Book
Keyword(s) / Subject(s): metaphor, similarity, indispensability, art criticism, literary criticism, creativity, imaginativeness, aims of criticism, appreciation, language of criticism, interpretation, aesthetic experience, evaluation, explanation, Isenberg, Baxandall, Beardsley, Sibley, Carroll, aesthetic response, aesthetic experience, characteristics of good critics, Hume, taste, perceptiveness, intellectual virtues, epistemic virtue, Addison, Hume, Kant, Oscar Wilde, critic as artist, Pater, Scruton, non-literal, simile, comparison, Davidson, Searle, metaphor comprehension, paraphrase, Yablo, nominalism, Walton, make-believe, pretense, theory change, expression, aesthetic properties, realism, anti-realism
School or Research Centre: Birkbeck Schools and Research Centres > School of Social Sciences, History and Philosophy > Philosophy
Depositing User: Dr James Grant
Date Deposited: 19 Oct 2012 08:53
Last Modified: 17 Feb 2014 15:11
URI: http://eprints.bbk.ac.uk/id/eprint/5280

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